Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

stuffed-peppers

Look at my wrinkly peppers! 🙂  I recently came back from Spain and they seem to ‘stuff’ a lot of food there so it inspired me to do stuffed peppers. My mum always made them for us growing up so not sure why I don’t do them more often – probably because she made them with meat so I associate it with that but I’ve made these delicious veggie ones and they turned out so yummy.

You can of course leave out the goat’s cheese if you want them vegan. We don’t eat cow’s milk dairy here and rarely even goat’s milk but I don’t mind the odd bit of goat’s cheese and Braxton really loved it too. The lentils and beans mean this meal is filled with plant-based protein.

Ingredients (for 2 people)

2 large red peppers
1 cup brown basmati rice
Half a cup of lentils
1 tin organic black beans
1 zucchini
1 tbsp bouillon
¼ tsp cumin
Himalayan salt and black pepper
A bit of soft goat’s cheese, cut up in very small cubes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Cook the rice first according to the instructions, along with the lentils in the same saucepan. They both take quite a while so allow ample time.

When it has been cooking about 10 minutes, add the bouillon.

Once the water from the rice and lentils is very nearly all evaporated but there is still a tiny bit at the bottom, drain the black beans or kidney beans and add them. Mix them through the rice and lentils and leave on a low heat for a minute.

Now grate the zucchini directly into the saucepan and mix that around. Add the cumin, salt & pepper and mix. Now add the goat’s cheese and mix. Save a few pieces of goat’s cheese for after. Turn off the heat.

Cut the tops off the peppers and take out the insides and wash thoroughly.

Place them on a baking tray upright and fill with the rice mixture.

Put them in the oven for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes add a few pieces of the goat’s cheese to the top and leave in for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot.

Love & health,
Lauren

Non-Boring Runner Beans!

A&C Green Beans

I just love when Abel & Cole send me a sweet little recipe idea in my weekly box. This week they sent over a bunch of runner beans (which I found really boring growing up!) with a bit of inspiration for them and they turned out beautifully and are no longer boring! A perfect accompaniment to any meal.

Ingredients

A bunch of runner beans
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch Himalayan pink salt
Pinch garlic salt
Chilli flakes (optional but gives it a kick!)

Method

Cut the ends off the beans and wash them.

Heat the olive oil in a griddle pan (you can use a normal frying pan but this charred them really nicely) then add the beans once hot.

While they are cooking away, mix all the other ingredients in a bowl.

Once the beans start to char, add the sauce and mix well and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Healthy & happiness,
Lauren

Pea & Edamame Fritters (for baby led weaning and generally humans who like food!)

Pea Edamame Fritters

You all know how much I love my weekly Abel & Cole organic food delivery and last week, I got a bag of peas in their pods which was such fun. I also had some edamame in the fridge so decided to add them and make some fritters as they are great for baby led weaning and I do like to give Braxton some food he can hold with each meal even if I am spoon feeding him also.

Ingredients

Half a cup of fresh podded peas (you could use frozen if you can’t get fresh of course)
Half a cup of edamame beans (shelled)
2 eggs
1 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp buckwheat flour
Handful chopped parsley
Handful chopped mint
Half a lime
Some coconut oil

(see below for optional dipping sauce)

Method

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the chia seeds.  Mix, and leave to soak for 5 minutes. While they are soaking, add the peas and edamame to a saucepan of boiling water and boil for 5-7 minutes, until they have softened but not overcooked.

Drain the peas and edamame and add them to the egg mixture then add the buckwheat flour, parsley, mint and lime. You can add a little Himalayan salt if you want or keep it salt free for young babies.

Heat some coconut oil in a pan then spoon about 2 tbsp of the mixture into the pan. It will be too runny to shape it into patties, you just have to spoon it onto the pan how it is and it will take shape. Do a few at a time but don’t fill up the pan too much, you can do it in stages. They only need around 3-4 minutes on each side and remove when they are golden on both sides.

I made a little dipping sauce to dip them into by putting quarter cup olive oil, half an avocado, 6 brazil nuts, handful pine nuts, handful of mint and some Himalayan salt into the blender.

Health & happiness,
Lauren

Sauteed Suffolk Summer Squash (and some childhood memories of Suffolk)

Sauteed Summer Squash

My wonderful mummy went to visit her best friend in Suffolk last weekend. We used to spend our summers there with them. They called us The Tarmac Kids as we came from London and they lived in this amazing little village with about 10 houses, a post office that sold old fashioned penny sweets and a sweet old fashioned phone box. As kids we’d spend our days climbing over haystacks, finding little streams, collecting tadpoles and writing children’s stories about all the animals, all the while Mum sitting at the kitchen table talking to Aunty Vicky while she made jam. We’d go there at Christmas and enjoy sitting around the huge Christmas tree drinking hot chocolate and playing games. Aunty Vicky would throw a big party the week before Christmas for the whole family. We’d eat, play games, wear PJs and have the best time. They are some of the best memories of my life and I still enjoy going there to visit. It’s strange because as kids we all played together and now we all have kids of our own and I hope to take Braxton there soon and give him some of the amazing memories that I had.

Anyway, Mum went to one of their lovely farmers markets when she was there and brought me back some beautifully vibrant summer squashes and some redcurrants and said, ‘here, do something with these’! So I did! And this turned out really yummy.

Ingredients

2/3 summer squashes (depending on how much you want)
1 red pepper
2 spring onions
Generous handful parsley
1 tsp coconut oil
Himalayan salt & black pepper

Method

Peel and chop the squash, removing the soft seedy bit from the middle and put it in a bowl. Chop the red pepper into medium sized pieces and add this to the bowl with the squash.

Chop the spring onions and parsley and set them aside in another bowl.

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan and add the squash and red pepper. Give it a good mix then turn down to a low heat and cook until the squash has softened, around 10 minutes.

Once soft, add the spring onion and parsley, salt and pepper, mix, and give it another 2 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Love & health,
Lauren

Dairy Free Fish Cakes For Baby (& you!) & The Lowdown on Omega-3

Fish Cakes

Fish cakes are a great way to get omega-3 fatty acids into your baby. The body cannot synthesise Omgea -3 so it has to come from diet and oily fish is one of the best sources for it. I am totally on board with vegetarianism, I used to be a vegetarian myself until falling pregnant, but I do find that fish-based omega-3 is the best way to get omega-3 into our bodies. Apart from being good for the heart, joints and inflammatory diseases, it aids brain development in babies, helps with their behaviour and maximises their intellectual potential! Studies have actually shown that babies with higher amounts of omega-3 from early on have better concentration skills and read better than those whose omega-3 levels were very low.

Of course, as usual, please make sure your fish comes from trusted sources. The best way to ensure high quality salmon that is low in mercury is to obtain wild salmon or if it is farmed, make sure it is farmed ‘organically’ so it is left to grow and feed naturally even though it is technically farmed.  Abel & Cole offer an organic farmed range.

You’ll see I use buckwheat flour and almond milk in this recipe. As you are probably aware by now, I don’t like to give Braxton anything refined (flours, sugars etc). I don’t give him dairy so all my recipes are dairy and gluten free, but of course still unprocessed and using only natural ingredients. Don’t be fooled by the ‘gluten free industry’; they make gluten free foods that are just as processed and full of sugar as ones that do have gluten in them. The food still needs to be natural. I feel it is healthier for his gut to eat non-refined, only natural foods and if his gut is healthy then his immune system will be too. This will reduce the chance of eczema and auto-immune diseases as well as strengthen his immune system against every day illnesses and viruses. However, if you want to, you can use normal flour and normal milk in place of the buckwheat flour and almond milk. I would try and keep these recipes as dairy free as possible if you can. Where possible, please also try and use free-range eggs. They will have way less chemicals in them for your baby to be ingesting.

These fish cakes are one of the best things for baby led weaning as when you make them they last for a few days so it’s a few meals you don’t have to think about, and they are so easy for babies to feed themselves with. I break them into a few pieces and Braxton picks them up and eats them all himself – which means mummy can rush around the kitchen clearing up so she can use his nap times to actually rest!

Ingredients (makes about 6-8 patties)

1 salmon fillet
About 5 white potatoes, peeled and chopped
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 egg (free-range)
Half tsp mustard powder (optional, just adds a nice bit of flavour)
Half a lemon
1/5 cup almond milk
1 tbsp buckwheat flour
Extra virgin olive oil or Coconut oil
Black pepper and Himalayan salt

Method

Steam the potatoes over a pan of boiling water. Rub the salmon with some olive or coconut oil and when the potatoes soften, add the salmon to the steamer until it is totally cooked (about 7 minutes). Remove the salmon from the pan, take off the skin and put it to the side. Remove the potatoes and add them to a bowl.

Mash the potatoes in the bowl but leave some lumps so they are not totally mashed then set aside to let them cool.

Chop the parsley quite finely then flake in the salmon, add the cooled potatoes, almond milk, mustard powder, egg and squeeze in the juice of the half lemon. Mix very well then add the buckwheat flour and add some pepper and if you want (if not for young babies) add a sprinkle of Himalayan salt and mix again.

Take a clean plate and spread some buckwheat flour over the plate and put some in your hands then take a pattie size amount of the mixture and flatten into a pattie shape, the flour will help you do this without it sticking to your hands. Put it on a clean plate then repeat the process until the mixture is all finished and all your fish cakes have been made.

Heat some oil in a large frying pan and when it is hot, add a few of the fish cakes. You won’t be able to cook them all at the same time. Cook each one for 3-4 minutes on each side.

If you don’t want to eat them all within a few days, put some of them, uncooked, in the freezer and you can then defrost them at a later date and cook them.

I hope your bubbas enjoy these as much as Braxton did!

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton

 

WEANING! Mini Fish Pies For Your Mini People

  • Mini fish pies

The most stressful and time consuming aspect of parenthood for most new mums seems to be food! I mean these tiny people need to eat 3 meals a day, EVERY DAY! Oh, and snacks! And we have to organise and prepare these meals, make sure they’re healthy, have all the right ingredients and none of the wrong ones, and make sure there is something available at all times. It’s bloody hard work!

Please don’t think that just because I run this site that it is any less stressful for me. I find that the only way to make it even slightly less stressful is to be very very organised. I sit down with my laptop on a Saturday morning and plan my meals for the week, then order the online shop from Abel & Cole. I then sit and work out at which times of which days I will cook these things. After all, it’s not always possible to be in the kitchen when you have a baby. Once I’ve written all this down, it feels a lot less overwhelming and I can get on with my weekend!

So following on from that, I thought I’d help you all out a little bit and start adding baby meals to the website. It will have its own category in the drop-down list also, to make it easier to find things.

Here are some mini fish pies – dairy free of course – with just great ingredients and no nasties.

Ingredients

A pack of fish pie mix (I use Abel & Cole, otherwise a mix of salmon, cod and haddock or your own choice of fish)
About 8-10 white potatoes
1/2 tsp coconut oil
Almond milk (the quantity will depend on the size of your saucepan)
1 bay leaf
1 cube pre-prepared homemade vegetable or chicken stock, or 1 Kallo low salt organic vegetable stock cube
Half a cup of frozen peas
Vegan margarine spread
Freshly ground pepper and Himalayan salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Peel and chop the potatoes and put them in a saucepan, cover with water and boil.

At the same time, rub the fish with the coconut oil then put it in a saucepan and cover with almond milk. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and add the stock cube, bay leaf, some pepper. You can add some pink Himalayan salt if you do want to add salt. The fish should all look cooked after about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, holding back a very small amount of the liquid, just enough to keep it moist then put it back in the saucepan and set aside for a minute.

Put the peas in a saucepan, add water, bring to the boil and drain.

Go back to the fish, Remove the bay leaf and gently mash the bits of fish, breaking them up so they are not whole chunks but also not broken up too small. Add the peas then add this mix to the individual ramekin dishes or disposable mini silver dishes.

Once the potatoes are ready, drain the water and mash well. Add about a fifth of a cup of almond milk and a tbsp vegan margarine and mix until smooth. Add a small pinch of Himalayan salt and mix again.

Add this layer to the top of the fish layer, rub a little vegan margarine over the top of each one and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Once cool you can freeze them and defrost as and when you need them.

I hope your babies enjoy this as much as my baby did!

Love,
Lauren (& Braxton!)

Cauliflower ‘Couscous’ with Sesame, Sweet Potato & Asparagus

Cauliflower Couscous

Who would have thought you could take a vegetable and turn it into a carb substitute? Sometimes we just fancy a bit of stodge for dinner, right?? Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and by blitzing it in the Vitamix, we can turn it into a couscous-like consistency. You can pretty much add anything you like to it and, as usual, I’ve added whatever I already had in my fridge. This entire meal is plant-based and super healthy.

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower
2 sweet potatoes
Tsp coconut oil
A bunch of asparagus
About 8 chestnut mushrooms, chopped (or any mushrooms will do)
5th of a cup of water
Handful coriander
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Some sesame oil
1/2 tsp paprika
Handful sundried tomatoes
Himalayan salt & ground black pepper

Optional:
1/4 cucumber, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
Gluten free tacos
Halloumi – if not vegan

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Peel and dice the sweet potato then put them on a baking tray with a tsp coconut oil and some Himalayan salt. Once the oven heats up the coconut oil will be melted and you can pull out the tray and mix it around to make sure it covers all the pieces of the potato. Cook for around 20 minutes, or until soft.

Cut the cauliflower into florets and put them in the blender and blitz until a couscous-like consistency is formed. Leave to the side.

Heat some sesame oil in a pan and add the asparagus and mushrooms. Mix around then add about a 5th of a cup of water and add this so the steam will cook the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add a tiny bit more sesame oil then once hot, add the cauliflower couscous to the pan and turn the heat to medium. Mix around for 1-2 minutes then add the sesame seeds and let it all heat through. Add the coriander, paprika some salt and pepper and mix for another minute, then re add the asparagus and mushrooms and mix.

Once heated through, put it on a plate or bowl, remove the sweet potato from the oven and add it to the top.

At this point you can add all the optional extras to the top or put it all inside a gluten free taco or wrap and devour!

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren